Warning: Controversy ahead
Well, I did tell you that this was coming, right? After a couple of really frustrating weeks on FetLife, where the term “consent violation” was being hurled left and right and sideways, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I tried posting my thoughts on some of the writings that I felt overused the term, but I just got flamed. So I figured, what the hell. I’ll write my own rebuttal, and damn the torpedoes.
My point, in case I don’t make that abundantly clear, is NOT to tell people they shouldn’t be offended or upset by something. That is their feelings, and it would be invalidating to say otherwise. But there is one hell of a span of territory between simple offenses and what constitutes a violation of consent in our scene, and I feel like people are losing sight of that, to the detriment of those who suffer the real violations. So…
Cross posting this here for my readers as well. What do you guys think? (Sorry, I know the line spacing is very tight and it’s hard to read. I couldn’t seem to fix that when I copied it over from FL.)
Some Straight Talk on “Consent Violation”
I’ve been seeing that phrase a whole lot on here in the past couple of weeks. This will probably get me flamed, blamed, and shamed, but I felt the need to review just exactly what constitutes consent violation.
To the best of my knowledge and experience, there are three basic types of CV:
1. Stating a hard limit to a play partner and having said limit ignored. Example: A bottom specifies “no wood” before a spanking, but then the top picks up a wooden paddle midway through the scene.
2. Ignoring a safe word. There are a lot of gray areas in the kink scene, but one thing is crystal clear: You hear “red,” “mercy,” or any other designated safe word, and you stop what you’re doing. Period. Continuing a scene after a safe word is uttered is a violation.
3. This last one is murkier than the other two, and it has a lot of variables and “it depends” and so forth, but basically: Agreeing on one type of play, and then seguing into something completely different within the scene without clearing it first. I’m not talking about a slight variance, like switching implements up during an impact play scene (unless a particular implement is a stated hard limit). I mean something like you’re in the middle of a spanking scene, and the top suddenly whips out a plug of ginger. Not a good idea to assume that is OK, just because you’re doing one sort of bottom play. Or, the ever-famous wandering fingers. Just because she’s over your knee and you see a bit of dampness, doesn’t mean you can take your hand off her bottom and stick it between her legs.
If I’m missing any more obvious and clear-cut types of violations, please let me know. However, riddle me this: Say, at a party, in a session, at a dungeon, or whatever your choice of kink hangout is, someone says or does something you don’t care for. I’m not talking about a deliberately ignored limit or anything that egregious — I’m talking about preferences, and how some people can be kind of rude, thoughtless, clueless, or presumptuous. Does it piss you off, offend you, annoy you? You bet, and that’s your right.
However, is it a consent violation? Sorry. No, it is not. And it’s really inappropriate to call it one. Because overusing that phrase minimizes/invalidates the real violations.
For example: say I’m at a spanking party, and I’m playing with someone I haven’t played with before. We discuss basic limits and then proceed. All goes well until my panties come down and he says something like, “Ah, here’s that naughty little tushy!”
It’s a very common way to speak in the spanko world. It’s innocuous. However, I hate, hate, hate being spoken to like I’m a small child. It skeeves me. So, while I fight the urge to hurl on his shoes, I would do one of two things. If I were fairly comfortable, I might blurt, “Ew! What am I, five? Please don’t talk to me like that.” Or I might simply make a mental note that I don’t want to play with this person again. But am I going to holler consent violation? No! How the hell was he supposed to know that I hate that kind of talk? Unless I said so specifically, of course.
A lot of bottoms/subs like a bit of verbal degradation. Words like “slut,” “whore” and the c-word turn them on. I don’t like being called names like that. However, I’ve been called them a time or two (or three) during scenes with men who don’t know that about me. Was it presumptuous of them to assume those kinds of words were OK? Yes. Was it a consent violation? No. Not if I didn’t specifically say beforehand, “Don’t call me [whatever].”
Recently, the topic of “brats” and how obnoxious we are (I say we, even though I don’t like the term, because I do enjoy the banter and playfulness of a bit of bratting) came up on here. It was said that bratting is a consent violation. Say what???
Come on. OK, if it’s really outrageous behavior, physical stuff like hitting, pinching, throwing messy food in a top’s face, spraying Silly String all over his clothes, etc., then yes, that’s a violation, especially if a brat does it to someone they don’t know just to get a reaction or some attention. But that’s not so much about brats, per se… that’s more about people who are just plain fucking rude and have no sense of boundaries.
You don’t like banter? You don’t like a bit of sass, a little clever power exchange, some spice in your sub? Then don’t play with people who do that. If a brat challenges you at a party and you don’t like it, walk away. But don’t go hollering consent violation.
Please don’t get me wrong: I am not excusing or condoning any sort of inappropriate behavior. I’m saying call it what it is, and know what it isn’t.
Wherever people are gathered, there will be those you don’t like, or whose scene behavior doesn’t mesh with your own. They will engage in acts that don’t flip your switch, or use terms that are like nails on a blackboard for you. That Does. Not. Make. Them. Consent. Violators. Learn the difference.
Why is this important? Say I go to the Emergency Room, and when asked what my emergency was, I say, “I have a hangnail.” They’d tell me that’s not an emergency. I then say, “But it hurts!” “Yes, we know, but you can take care of it yourself.”
Next week, I go to the ER again. This time it’s for an ingrown bikini line hair. Same spiel — yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s not an emergency. I go home, only to return the following week with a paper cut.
By the time I go in for the fourth time, the ER nurses see me, say, “Oh, it’s HER again,” and look right past me to the next patient.
Too bad that this time I’ve got double pneumonia.
Kind of a ridiculous analogy, but you get my point. When people make a stink about so many different interactions that are not violations, we lose sight of what’s real, what calls for attention and action. We don’t take the people who bring up the violations seriously anymore. And that’s a damn shame.
Please stop overuse of the term “consent violation.” Pick your battles, and know when something really is a violation, and when it’s simply something/someone you don’t like.